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Do Purebred Dogs Have a Higher Risk of Cancer?

Dog at the vet.

This topic caught my eye so I wanted to share it with pet parents. I read a study by Nationwide®* that showed purebred dogs have a higher risk for cancer claims than cross-bred or mixed breed dogs. An example of a cross-bred dog would be a Labradoodle. A mixed breed would be a mutt, or better said, randomly bred. 

Higher and Lower Risk Dog Cancer Breeds

What I found most interesting was that cancer risk varies quite a bit by breed. The analysis is from 1.61 million Nationwide®-insured dogs over a six-year time span. The report analyzed 25 of the most popular breeds and found:

  • Purebred dogs are nearly 2x as likely to have a claim for cancer than the average dog
  • Boxers, Beagles and Golden Retrievers show the highest relative risk
  • Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, and French Bulldogs show the lowest risk

The study also found that risk for cancer claims in purebred dogs varied by breed and the affected area of the body, and by breed and age.

  • Boxers have a higher risk of skin tumors, cardiac, lymphatic, and neurological cancers
  • Beagles have a higher risk of bladder tumors, endocrine, liver, mammary and spleen cancers
  • Golden Retriever have a higher risk for spleen, bone, cardiac, liver and lymphatic
  • With regards to age, the most common cause for first cancer claim is skin cancer

Know the Early Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs

Knowledge is power which is why I posted this topic on our blog. If your dogÔÇÖs breed is more prone to cancer, be observant. If you suspect something, donÔÇÖt wait and get your dog checked out by a vet right away.┬áEarly detection is critical for a good outcome. The National Canine Cancer Foundation recommends you check your dog once a month for lumps, bumps or anything out of the ordinary.

Signs of Cancer in Dogs Source: National Canine Cancer Foundation


In addition, just like in humans, a good diet, healthy environment, and exercise help to reduce the risk. For more information on canine cancer, check out:

PawSheets® fitted dog bed sheets help you keep a clean bed for your dog - part of a healthy environment.

Let us know what other topics you are interested in ÔÇô and comments are always welcome.


*Nationwide Diversity Of Risk Purebred Cancer White Paper - March 2022

Dog at Vet Photo by Autri Taheri on Unsplash  

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